by Melinda Gallo

Andrea Ponsi at Mel Bookstore

I have been wanting to go to Andrea Ponsi's presentazione (presentation) of his book "Firenze Sensibile" ever since I heard about it. I found Andrea's book at a small libreria (bookstore) one day by chance. Once I started reading it, I couldn't stop myself. I was touched by his lovely experience of Florence, a city that he wasn't born in but has been a resident in for many years. Andrea Ponsi, who is holding the microphone in the photo, is not only a published writer, but also an architect, designer, artist, and university professor.

Living in Florence :: Andrea Ponsi at Mel Bookstore

I found his website after only reading a few racconti and emailed him to ask if he would like to publish a racconto (short story) on the Florence from the Heart website. He was extremely kind and has agreed to publish a couple on the site. I will be publishing them closer to the publication date of "Firenze Sensibile" in English, which will be coming out this fall under the title of "Florence: Map of Perceptions" by University of Virginia Press.

I arrived at Mel Bookstore with my girlfriend Lisa so we could see our first Italian book presentazione. We sat in the front row while Andrea sat behind a table with three of his friends who talked about his book and recited excerpts of it for the large crowd that formed behind the seats we were sitting in.

I learned that Andrea wrote this book when he was asked to lasciare gli acquerelli a casa e interpretare la città attraverso la penna invece dei colori (leave the watercolors at home and interpret the city with a pen instead of colors). And that is what his book does. He shares his love of the city by painting it with words. You get the feel of the city and are able to fall back in love with it.

I enjoyed listening to many of the passages read by the actor who was Andrea's friend. He brought more emotion to them, and I found them even more alive than when I read them to myself. As one of his friends said that Andrea "esprime le sensazioni del momento (expresses the sensations in the moment)." In his writing, Andrea certainly engages his readers with all the senses: sight, hearing, smell, and touch.

I was delighted with Andrea's presentazione because it felt more like a celebration of his book and not a marketing event. I look forward to enjoying the English version of his book when it comes out, and I hope that many others will be able to do so as well.

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